What does the future hold for technology?

Week 2 what is technology

Technology – a catalyst for social change

Over the next few weeks we examine the subject of technology and how it can be taught within a primary school context. Let’s first consider the broader concept of technology and why it is such an important part of our past, present and future lives.

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The story of technology is the continual invention of new objects and materials in order to create solutions to our most basic problems. Flint stone knives were made to help us cut, while the wheel helped us transport heavy loads. Our ability to create and perfect the use of tools has been an integral part of human history for thousands of years. The list of historical changing technological inventions is extensive, including: the printing press, the combustion engine, and the silicon chip, to name but a few. Each wave of major technological change has become a catalyst for significant social change.

To see the impact of technological change on a familiar context, take a look at the The History of Household Technology (LibraryOfCongress, 2009) summarising how technology has changed domestic life over last 150 years.

As you watch the video, consider:

  • how the invention of household appliances created social change
  • why these inventions were solutions to social problems.

The introduction of new technology creates new opportunities and ways of thinking that are sometimes difficult to see beforehand. In our lifetime we have witnessed massive technological change through the exponential growth of the Internet and mobile communication. These have produced a new wave of social change that has led to the creation of new ways that we live and work.

Our role as educators

As educators, our role is to give our students the necessary skills that they will need in their future adult life, which includes the skills and knowledge that help them adapt to technological change. Becoming literate in the use of technology is an essential part of participating in the coming decades of the 21st century.

While having skills in using technology is very important, having a broader understanding of technology and its larger impact on the world will help students to ethically create their own preferred future; the future they would choose to see eventuate. We will look at this critical dimension in more detail in the last part of this week.

Before viewing the videos, A Day Made of Glass Extended Montage (5-minute – 2013) (Corning Incorporated, 2013), A Day Made of Glass 2: Same Day. Expanded Corning Vision (Corning Incorporated, 2012) and Microsoft’s Concept of How 2019 Will Look Like – Official Video(Mobilegeeks, 2011), consider the following:

  • What does the future hold for technology?
  • What might the adult lives of your student look like?
  • Why is it important to teach young children about technology?

Now take a look at the videos, as you imagine the not so distant future.

A life integrated with technology

In our introductory tab we have shown you a vision of the future as a high tech world of digital screens seamlessly integrated into every aspect of life. Now let’s try to develop a broader understanding of technology.

Which of the following items do you associate with technology?

Adapted from Fleer & Jane (2004, p.6)

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